Monday, March 19, 2012

Good conservation news in the Shenandoah Valley

Valley Conservation Council just sent out their 2011 Annual Report along with their February newsletter, Vision, and both contain great news for conservation efforts in the region. The headliner story - "Region Has Four of the Top Five Conservation Counties for 2011" touts the hard work and successes in acreage conserved by private landowners in cooperation with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF). Leading the list is Rockbridge County (11 new easements in 2011 comprising 2,260 acres bringing the county's total to 35,200 acres) and Bath County (eight new easements comprising 2,567 acres bringing their total to 23,956 acres).  Augusta County (17,777 cumulative acres) and Highland County (11,284 cumulative acres) are also in the Commonwealth's top five.

New Mole Hill Easement
in Rockingham County.
Photo from VCC website.
Virginia's largest agricultural county, Rockingham, is far behind its neighbors to the south with only 3,721 acres in conservation easements with the VOF. But the good news for 2011 is that seven new easements totaling 1,066 acres were added, a 40% increase. Keep in mind that other organizations like the Virginia Department of Forestry have easements (including one of 1,000 acres in Rockingham) that are not included in the totals.

The newsletter and annual report highlight other important work of VCC, which has focused on local and regional policies that, while allowing for inevitable growth, promote minimal impacts on the Shenandoah Valley region's environmental, agricultural, historical, and cultural heritage. You may not own land to place in an easement or be able to attend VCC's programs, but you can donate to their important work that helps sustain what we love about the Valley! Lots of small donations add up... and that ain't chicken feed.

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